WORLD CANCER DAY 2021

Nearly 40 People In Singapore Are Diagnosed With Cancer Daily. Here’s How Your Spare Change Can Help Them

Click on the new Donations feature on multi-currency wallet mobile app Revolut to make a difference. CEO of Revolut Singapore James Shanahan shares the details.

Nearly 40 People In Singapore Are Diagnosed With Cancer Daily. Here’s How Your Spare Change Can Help Them

Revolut doesn’t just want to help you save money; it also wants to help you save lives. Developed by the London-based fintech start-up, the mobile app of the same name (open an account here) serves as a multi-currency wallet for more than 75,000 customers in Singapore, where it launched in 2019.  

A new in-app feature, Donations, now allows customers to round up card payments and donate the difference to three different charities. In fact, you can even make a one-off contribution or set up recurring ones — and no minimum amount is required! And just like how it doesn’t charge any fee for currency exchange or overseas remittance, Revolut doesn’t charge customers or charities a fee for these donations, so every cent goes to doing good. (Likewise, every dollar from your subscription to A Magazine goes to Beyond Social Services.)

James Shanahan CEO Revolut Singapore
The small stuff counts too when it comes to making positive impact, points James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore.

James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore, says: “Complicated sign-up processes and scary commitments can put a lot of people off, so we wanted to build a feature that would enable our customers to support good causes in a seamless and secure way.”  

Among the three charities his company supports is the Singapore Cancer Society, which reaches out to needy cancer patients through welfare, hospice home care, treatment subsidy and rehabilitation support programmes and services. Every day, in Singapore, 15 people die of cancer while 39 are diagnosed. While the stats are grim — one in four people may develop cancer in their lifetime — early detection and treatment have shown to result in better clinical outcomes.

“Although extraordinary breakthroughs have been made in the area of cancer research, inequities exist and we must support organisations that are working tirelessly to ensure equal access to cancer prevention, treatment and care,” adds Shanahan. “The Singapore Cancer Society’s work ensures that no one has to fight cancer alone and Revolut is proud to support them in their work.”

The other charities available on Revolut’s Donations feature are Singapore Red Cross and Club Rainbow.  

Why is giving back important to Revolut Singapore as a company? 

Our founders, Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, believed it wasn’t right for customers to lose money on transaction fees and foreign exchange commissions. In the same spirit, we created the Donations feature so that the charity receives 100 percent of what is given. Unlike many fundraising platforms, Revolut does not charge the charities or our customers a fee for donations.

What are some trends you observe among users in terms of giving back? And how does Revolut’s Donation feature respond to these trends?

People — not just Revolut Singapore customers — are suffering from donor’s fatigue. So it is getting more difficult to move people to act and make a donation. The ubiquity of digital content platforms means that everyone gets bombarded by a lot more messages and this has the undesirable effect of making it harder to get a response.

Also, many people are heading out with less cash and spare change in their wallets. It used to be that you had the odd 50-cent or dollar coin to put into a donation can or box; these days, you might not even have a wallet with you.

So Revolut’s Donation feature enables customers to make a donation by allowing you to round up card payments and donate the difference to the charities we have in-app. Many people believe that to effect great change, we must make huge sacrifices — hey, the small stuff counts too! The smallest contribution can translate into big changes for those in need. And these small contributions are convenient for you to make.

Revolut Donations app Singapore Cancer Society
Donations also allows you to make a one-off contribution or set up recurring ones.

The Singapore Cancer Society is among the charities available on the Revolut app. How do you decide which charities to work with?

The charities we have chosen to work with in this initial launch represent causes our customer base is most concerned about. But being an MAS-regulated entity, and ultimately a provider of financial services to the Singapore public, we need to be very selective about the charities we engage with. 

Revolut identifies charities by: 1) identifying leading charities in Singapore in relation to causes that are crucial to our world and society; 2) assessing those with the strongest track record in delivering outcomes for the communities they serve, and 3) engaging with selected charities and assessing if our values are aligned.

The challenges we as a society face will evolve over time. So it is important that we are constantly ensure that these charities we work with evolve with these challenges. We are looking to add more charities in the coming months, hopefully representing other causes such as animal welfare or climate protection.

Other than being a tech partner of Singapore Cancer Society, Revolut Singapore is also a sponsor for its Relay for Life 2021 virtual fundraiser, which happens 20 to 28 March.    

And we’ve got a team participating in it! The 100km-challenge is a team effort — each member can choose to bike, run, swim, or walk over these nine days and contribute personal mileage to the overall team count (sign up here). Participants will complete their challenges virtually. Many on the Revolut team are active in their personal lives. Pam Chuang, our Head of Growth, and Shulin Tay, our Senior Legal Counsel, are avid cyclists. And of course, some will be running on treadmills!  

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